By Brian Wedemeyer Today's News-Herald
KINGMAN - In order to clean up the controversial pigeon mess, Mohave County may follow Lake Havasu City's lead. After a lengthy public hearing, the board of supervisors Monday directed counsel to determine if pigeons could fall under the county's existing nuisance abatement ordinance. In the meantime, a newly-adopted pigeon ordinance, which has received national media attention, remains in effect. Any person who encourages the "lingering, roosting and/or congregating" of pigeons through ground-feeding is subject to a $100 fine for each offense. "The ordinance we have in place handles the problem," Johnson said.
"Our health department and our county attorneys have researched this thoroughly." On Aug. 24, the board voted 2-1, with Johnson opposed, to reconsider the new ordinance. Supervisor Carol Anderson said the board only heard one side of the pigeon issue.
"I think some additional information would be useful," she said. Several Lake Havasu City residents, both for and against the existing pigeon ordinance, addressed the board during Monday's public hearing. Mark Short, president of the Western Arizona Urban Wildlife Society, described the existing ordinance as an "invasion of our privacy, and intrusion on our rights, and in no way accomplishes the stated or intended purposes for its enactment."
He maintains that pigeons typically gather in nesting areas rather than feeding areas, and eliminating nesting sites is the only way to solve the pigeon problem. "The key is population reduction," Short said. "History proves that the best way to limit a population of any creature is to stop their reproduction. Many species are extinct or on the endangered list because their natural breeding grounds have been eliminated. [Pigeons] use the structures we build because they are like the cliffs that are their natural breeding ground. Therefore, the common sense thing to do is block them out."
Earl Siler, chairman of the local Pigeon Abatement Committee, insists pigeons are a serious health hazard and the existing ordinance is the best solution. "Give us the ordinance as it's written," Siler told the board. "Let us work on the pigeon feeders and let [Short] work on pigeon proofing." For more information, see Today's News-Herald, Oct. 7, 1998 edition.